So everyone can be a hero.

Accessibility professionals exist – but digital and document accessibility is not the work of one person alone, it is something all of us can help with. This list focuses not on wider issues of inclusion and representation, but the list items focus on ensuring that websites, game books, supplements, and adventures are made accessible to the widest variety of people, using standards that should be industry-wide (should, because they often unfortunately get ignored and the disparities increase…) as a “floor”, and more.

Use these resources as a way to get started! While this list of resources is free, feel free to support me on Ko-fi if you find this list useful, or contact me if I can work with you in more detail. I can also be found on Mastodon.

Page Contents

What Is Accessibility?

Digital accessibility is often defined by “making websites and electronic documents usable to people with disabilities”.

But this is where many folk, upon hearing about accessibility, start wondering – or saying they don’t know anyone disabled, or anyone who needs the features, or it’s not worthwhile. But many features considered accessibility improvements or features ALSO help with usability: curb cuts, those ramps on sidewalk intersections, are the classic example of this in a physical environment, so you might hear about the “curb cut effect”. You can read more about “the Curb Cut Effect” at “The Curb Cut Effect: How universal design makes things better for everyone” essay by Emma Sheridan.

Disability does not necessarily mean only “receiving governmental disability benefit”. Disability is a mismatch between a person and their environment. Therefore, when we talk of disability, it encompasses conditions relating to aging (conditions like arthritis, joint pain, vision issues), just as it can encompass situations like dyslexia, autism, joint pain, arthritis, vision issues (such as needing zoom or clarity as to what image goes with what text section), healing from sickness or surgery, avoiding conditions like migraines or dizziness or even distractions, and more. Think about virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa, or the Mac’s pinch-zoom feature, or changing the light of your screen when in bright glare or to avoid migraines; many people use these features without necessarily thinking of themselves as having a disability. For more on what accessibility, disability, and what we mean by these, please refer to the Microsoft Inclusive Design Toolkit which has more information on designing for multiple perspectives – using tools many people ALREADY have.

Not Sure Where to Start?

For an introduction to using keyboard controls and who uses them, check out the Web Accessibility Initiative video on keyboard controls: (YouTube) WAI – Keyboard Compatibility video

Not familiar with screen reader software? Not sure who uses them or how they work? Deque Systems has a video introducing screen readers, what they are, and examples of how they work to enable people to use computers, mobile phones, websites, checking email, and more: (YouTube) Deque – Introduction to Screen Readers

There is also a great resource discussing accessibility and inclusion specifically with regard to tabletop with other links – also about safety tools – on the D&D Compendium. Do not view the Compendium as competing: we’re all in this together.

Highly recommended: check out Jennifer Kretchmer’s Accessibility in Gaming Resources as well. (Support her if you can!)

Web Accessibility

Do you sell anything? Create? Have a portfolio website? Website accessibility helps with search engine optimization as well as increasing usability.

Websites and Social Media

Document Creation and Formatting Accessibility

This section focuses on accessibility when writing, editing, and formatting. Focus is on Microsoft Word and Adobe CC flows (Acrobat and InDesign CC), but also pointing out Google Docs as well. Major principles hold true between website accessibility and document accessibility, however.

Manuscripts and More (Text, PDFs, InDesign, etc)

Safety Tools and Self-Care

Safety tools and consent have been implemented in many major game franchises and studios in the past several years: this gives opportunity for the players to set their expectations for any game session accordingly and have some idea of what intensity and kinds of topics/themes to expect, what is “on-screen” and what is just a mentioned, etc. Self-care helps avoid DM burnout, caring about one’s own mental health, emotional “bleed”, and more.

Implementing in Content

Resources on Diversity and Inclusion

Contact a Professional for Tabletop Accessibility

Developers, designers, writers – everyone can play a part in improving accessibility. However, if this seems too overwhelming for you, you have specific questions about accessibility for your project, or you wish to devise more of a strategy for repeated titles, or you want to make sure to get advanced tools (testing with screen reader compatibility, doing more extensive checks), please use the contact form or contact me via email.